Thursday, January 31, 2013

Insomnia, Courtesy of Nick Jr

There are a few side effects of motherhood that I have found to be lacking publicity among the newly pregnant: droopy body parts, the loss of bladder control during allergy season, and the onset of insomnia.  The last by-product of children has proven most problematic.

About four years ago Insomnia found her way into my bed and cozied up right beside me, spooning me while burying her face into my neck.  In a soft, yet firm voice, she whispers to me, reminding me of tomorrow's tasks and not allowing me to forget yesterday's failures.  Some days she puts the whole weight of her body on my legs, making them ache and beg to be stretched, maybe even a light jog around the neighborhood. 

Over the years I have tried numerous remedies to better my sleep.  I practice what the doctors call "Sleep Hygiene" (cue the eye roll). I stop all consumption of caffeine, with the necessary exception of chocolate, after 12:30 pm.  I don't lie on my bed unless I am ready to retire for the night, and, much to the chagrin of my husband, I have banned all viewing of TV in the bedroom after 9:30 pm. 

When I was pregnant with Maisy, my second, the insomnia was so extreme that I was routinely sleeping three to four hours a night- while pregnant and caring for a 1.5 year old.  During this time, I dabbled in acupuncture, homeopathic sleep aides, and a nightly practice of sleep-promoting yoga poses.  By the time I reached my third trimester, my bedtime routine took about 45 minutes and consisted of no less than two cups of Yogi's Bedtime Tea, a warm bath, and 15 minutes meditating in positions like downward-dog and legs-up-the-wall. The finale was my doctor prescribed Ativan.  Finally, I could sleep, even with the baby kicking me from the inside and the toddler waking every few hours to confirm that I was still there.

According to a 2007 study by the National Sleep Foundation on women and sleep, 80% of women reported being too overwhelmed and stressed by the demands of their lives to go to bed.  In addition, as women age they report significantly more sleep problems. Not surprisingly, mothers of young children, and full-time working mothers with school-age children are among the groups most likely to experience insomnia at least a few times a week. (A side note for those co-sleeping: 81% of women who sleep with an infant or child report frequent insomnia.)

While I am now not plagued by a nightly visit from the insomnia fairy, she does drop in a few times a week.  Currently she has taken the voice of Ming Ming from Wonder Pets. At 3 am she taunts me:

The sleep, the sleep is missing.
The sleep, won't be right there.
The sleep, the sleep is missing.
There's a parent in trouble,
There's a parent in trouble, 
There's a parent in trouble somewhere.

Wonder Aides!
Wonder Aides!
There is a vast array,
To help a friend
The pharmaceutical way!
There is prescription grade,
And over-the-counter, too
When you find the right one,
Good sleep will come to you!

Go, Wonder Aides, ya'ay!

Oh, Ming Ming, why do you hate me?  This is serious!

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